Top 5 most annoying scams of 2018

Scammers are not going to leave you alone this year

Top 5 most annoying scams of 2018

Scams continue growing and causing more problems for computer users. Nowadays, chances to suffer from a cybercrime are 20 times higher[1] than being robbed while walking in the street in the middle of the night. According to the statistical data, in 2017 scammers got:

  • $1 549 109 from unexpected prize and lottery scams;
  • $2 832 030 from attempts to gain personal information scams;
  • $1 513 533 from threats and extortion scams.[2]

However, it’s just a few examples of the most popular types of scams. New hoaxes appear every single day, but security experts warn that old tricks remain effective. Fake security alerts, technical support scams and survey scams still let criminals to swindle the money, obtain personal information or trick users into installing malicious software.

Today, we are going to present top 5 most annoying scams that were very active last year and expected to target victims in 2018. Keep in mind that any security program can protect you from scammers. Thus, it’s better to learn their tricks than counting the loss.

1. “You have a Zeus virus” Tech support scam

Example of You have a Zeus virus” Tech support scam

Zeus is one of the most popular and well-known banking Trojans that have been known for almost a decade. Thus, there’s no surprise that scammers decided to use its name[3] to trick victims into calling fake technical support specialists to get their computers cleaned for about $300.[4] It’s a lot for non-existent malware removal.

Scammers use a compromised website to generate a pop-up message:

Your Hard drive will be DELETED if you close this page. You have a ZEUS virus! Please call Support Now!. Call Toll-Free: 0800-014-8826 To Stop This Process

The further message threatens that leaving this page might lead to financial data, Facebook and email logins, CC details, and photos loss. Additionally, users are given only 5 minutes to grab their phones and call so-called Microsoft technicians.

In 2017, we have seen numerous versions of this hoax. Thus, this year, scammers are expected not only continue tricking people with “You have a Zeus virus” pop-up, but these fake security alerts as well:

  • Windows Detected ZEUS Virus,
  • Windows Defender Alert: Zeus Virus,
  • Security Update Error (Error code 0xB6201879),
  • System Detected Zeus virus.

Do not forget that real security alerts don’t pop-up in your browser!

2. “Congratulations Amazon User” virus

Image of "Congratulations Amazon User" virus

Security researchers reported that “Congratulations Amazon User” scam has returned at the very end of 2017. This old hoax plays with people desires to win something on the lottery. Thus, once the pop-up shows up informing about one Amazon Gift reserved, the excitement might occur. However, in order to obtain the prize, people are asked to complete the survey:

You can choose a PlayStation 4, $1000 Amazon Gift Card, or iPhone 7 plus.
To win all you need to do is to answer the following 4 questions.
Note: 10 randomly chosen users got this invitation and there are only a few prizes left.
You have 1 minute and 36 seconds to answer the following questions before we give the prizes to another lucky user.

However, at the end of the survey, you will be asked to enter some of your personal details. That’s the real purpose of the scam. Thus, do not get tricked by perfectly mimicked Amazon’s brand image and close browser’s tab as soon as this fake survey pop-ups on the screen.

3. “You Are Today's Lucky Visitor” ads

Example of "You Are Today's Lucky Visitor" ads

Just like “Congratulations Amazon User” trickery, “You Are Today's Lucky Visitor” scam uses people hopes to win something for doing nothing. These pop-up ads inform about unexpectedly earned goods, such as:

  • $1000 Amazon Gift card,
  • $1000 Visa Gift card,
  • $1000 Walgreens Gift card,
  • Samsung Galaxy smartphones,
  • iPhones,
  • and other expensive prizes.

Scammers want you to complete particular surveys in order to accept the prize, or as they tell, to say “Thank you” for giving a chance to win. However, no matter how much random polls you fill, you won’t get a promised prize. It's just another annoying scam you should watch out in 2018.

Meanwhile, crooks generate revenue from completed surveys or app downloads. Additionally, you might be asked to enter your contact information or personal details which may lead to money loss or even identity theft.

4. Google Security Warning virus

Image of Google Security Warning virus

Google Security Warning virus is another example of scareware that aims at Windows OS users who are not aware how real security alerts look. Scammers might take advantage of adware programs or potentially dangerous websites to redirect users to scam site which warns about a locked computer:

Firewall detecting ‘suspicious’ incoming network connections,we recommend that you click on “Back to Safety.”

The website itself tells that computer has been infected with a previously mentioned Zeus virus, trojans, worms or other cyber threats because System Activation key has expired. Scammers warn that users must call the provided number in order to protect their personal information from being stolen.

However, this technical support scam has anything in common with Microsoft. It’s a hoax that might be used for taking advantage of inattentive computer users.

5. “Microsoft Warning Alert” Tech support scam virus

Screenshot of  "Microsoft Warning Alert" Tech support scam virus

“Microsoft Warning Alert” pop up can be called a traditional example of Microsoft support scams[5] which also wants people to call fake technicians and do what they ask for. It might be purchasing fake or expensive security program, installing remote access tools or revealing private information.

Last year we have seen several variants of “Microsoft Warning Alert” Tech support scam. However, most of the time potential victims received a pop-up saying:

** Microsoft Warning Alert **
Malicious Pornographic Spyware/Riskware Detected
Error # 0x80072ee7
Please call us immediately at 0-800-046-5729
Do not ignore this critical alert.

However, if you search for the information about provided error code, you will see that it has nothing in common with a reported issue in a pop-up. Additionally, Microsoft does not have such phone support line. Lastly, you should look up to the domain address. It’s definitely not a Thus, you should close it immediately and do not fall for scammers tricks.

About the author
Lucia Danes
Lucia Danes - Virus researcher

Lucia is a News Editor for 2spyware. She has a long experience working in malware and technology fields.

Contact Lucia Danes
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